"I know Doc
Gerard," says Jack Price, who owned and trained Carry Back. "I always
got along with him fine. In reading about Leb�n and Cinzano I get the feeling
that he must be a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. But I haven't been around him much
in recent years. Certain things about this case make no sense whatsoever. Why
would a vet with such a practice risk his career to pick up some money on a bet
if he ran a ringer? Hell, a guy with his practice can make $250,000 a year just
giving Butazolidin shots."
Gerard has drawn
suspicion for a number of reasons. An elegant blonde who identified herself as
Mrs. Gerard and who indeed resembled Alice Gerard (a tall, thin, stylish
horsewoman of around 40) visited Uruguay and told Roberto Forn�, who owned
Cinzano, that she was buying Leb�n to ride, not to race. The Uruguayans were
suspicious about her shipping a cheap animal like Leb�n such a long distance.
It would seem a costly way to acquire a saddle horse. In the opinion of the
South Americans, Leb�n was finished as a racehorse, but his record (he won the
first three starts of his career) might have appeared good enough to an
American unfamiliar with Uruguayan racing—a Jack Morgan.
the Gerards appeared daily at Barn 59 at Belmont, where Leb�n was stabled. A
trainer whose horses are bedded down close by says, "I believed Gerard
owned and was training the horse, though Morgan was the trainer of record.
Since Saratoga I've been arriving at the track at 4:30 a.m.—the time most
people come to work—and finding the Gerards already cooling out their horses.
They were working them in the pitch black and were secretive."
Morgan's role in
the affair is a mystery. He has admitted he won less than $2,000 on Leb�n in
the Sept. 23 race, but said that he had never been suspicious that the animal
Gerard sent to him was a ringer. Indeed, Morgan said he would take a
lie-detector test. It could be that he was an innocent. But before
"Leb�n's" first start, Morgan allegedly approached a vet working for
another trainer and asked if he would check the horse's mouth to see if he
could ascertain the animal's age. The vet declined to inspect the horse,
knowing Gerard was caring far him. One might have thought Morgan, who had
experience as a vet's assistant, could check out the teeth himself. However,
South American horses are born in the fall of the year, rather than in the
spring—so Morgan might have been confused. Why he did not ask Gerard, who was
on the scene daily, is another matter. Was he suspicious?
notoriously distrustful lot, are asking questions about other matters. For
instance, was it significant that Larry Adams, a 41-year-old journeyman jockey
who has a reputation for riding long shots and who not long ago was reinstated
after a lengthy suspension related to drugs, rode "Leb�n"?
Then there is the
mystery blonde who is said to have bet the bundle on "Leb�n's" first
Belmont start. Is she Christa Mancusa, a 5'2", 40-year-old, blue-eyed
German who for years has raced horses in New York and Florida? Two of the men
whom Dr. Gerard hired to train animals for Mancusa never met the woman, though
she sent them monthly checks.
Who performed the
autopsy on the bay horse said to be Cinzano and why was he removed from the
Muttontown premises by Anthony Minieri of Dix Hills, N.Y. and—after Minieri had
paid a $5 fee—thrown into the Huntington town dump? The dump register shows a
7-year-old bay (not a 4-year-old, as Cinzano was), with head injuries, being
brought in. Dump officials say 60,000 tons of garbage now rest on the head of
the bay with the fractured skull.
To try to make
some sense of the swindle and find out if Cinzano is indeed the ringer, Joseph
Mayer of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, two New York vets, the
registrar of The Jockey Club and a detective traveled to Uruguay last weekend
to take blood samples of the relatives of the horses involved and question the
South American principals. But to make a case against Gerard, authorities will
have to produce evidence that he or agents acting with his consent knowingly
switched horses or that he made false statements in order to collect the
insurance on Cinzano.
would seem to be to establish a foolproof method of registering horses entering
the U.S. As things now stand, one could import a mule as a thoroughbred and it
might go unnoticed. Unfortunately, The Jockey Club believes honorable people do
honorable things and that most people in racing are honest. But the game has
changed—as the Cinzano/ Leb�n affair has demonstrated all too well.